California National Guard trains for CBRN incidents at CDP

Members of the California National Guard recently trained at FEMA's Center for Domestic Preparedness to learn how to manage incidents in an area contaminated with chemical or biological hazards.

The 185th Military Police (MP) Battalion, 49th MP Brigade, California National Guard honed their skills related to crowd control, countering protestors and performing military duties in the presence of hazardous substances. National Guard soldiers and airmen are eligible to attend fully funded training at the CDP, according to a CDP press release.

"The first thing I observed is how engaged, interested, and how challenging our soldiers found the training," Col. Kelly Fisher, the commander of the brigade, said. "They love this kind of training and it gives them perspective of what may be expected of them if and when they get called up for a domestic response. Our number one priority when called upon is saving lives and mitigating human suffering and loss of critical infrastructure. The CDP is key to ensuring we are well prepared for these potential events."

The National Guard and Air National Guard are the primary members of the Homeland Response Force, a unit that supports the 10 regions of FEMA during CBRN threats.

"An emergency incident will involve several different aspects of public safety-from fire to police to healthcare," Lt. Col. Robert Paoletti, the commanding officer of the 185th MP, said. "Having a place where we can train and experience different scenarios in a contaminated environment is great. We trained with all disciplines, learning a common set of operations and we all left with a better understanding of the (National Incident Management System), making our unit better in our HRF role supporting our state."

The 185th MP sent more than 110 soldiers to CDP training. The soldiers attended more than 10 courses during the two-week period.

"I enjoyed the level of instruction and experience from the instructors," Sgt. John Lafaver said. "We spent very little time in the classroom and were hands-on most of the time. I definitely feel more prepared. Anyone coming here, with the level of instruction and with the way this program is run, will find it impossible to walk away and not learn. More need to take advantage."

The CDP prepares local, state and tribal responders for manmade events or major accidents involving toxic or hazardous materials.